Paris Aubervilliers attack: Chinese community mourn mugging victim as fear grows

Family members and relatives hold a portrait of Zhang Chaolin outside the town hall in Aubervilliers, north-eastern suburbs of Paris, 14 August Image copyright AFP

Members of the Chinese community in the Parisian suburb of Aubervilliers have held a memorial for a man who was killed by muggers.

At least 500 people gathered outside the mayor’s office to remember Zhang Chaolin and protest at violence they say is being directed at them.

Mr Zhang, a textile designer, 49, died on Friday after five days in a coma.

The father-of-two had been attacked by three men while walking with a friend, a police source said.

According to the source, Mr Zhang was kicked in the sternum and fell, striking his head on the pavement. The attackers were allegedly trying to steal his friend’s bag.

The Mayor of Aubervilliers, Meriem Derkaoui, condemned the killing as a murder “with a racist targeting”.

Community representatives quoted by local newspaper Le Parisien (in French) say ethnic Chinese people are falling victim to muggings on a daily basis.

One Chinese group has recorded 100 cases in Aubervilliers alone since November, the paper says.

Image copyright AFP

Image copyright AFP

The suburb, which has a population of 77,500, is home to a large Chinese community connected to the garment trade. Some 600,000 ethnic Chinese people live in the country overall, including French citizens.

“The violence gets worse every year,” one mourner, who gave his name only as Seneque, told AFP news agency. “This time it was Mr Zhang but it could have been me.”

“It’s based on prejudices that the Chinese are weak, docile and rich,” Fang, a student, was quoted as saying by Le Parisien.

“I’ve been attacked three times in three years. My friends live with the same thing and some of them have moved away. I don’t even go out with a bag now.”

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